Welcome to TruthAboutDiamonds.com! Please allow me to introduce myself:
My name is Ira Weissman. I’m married to the most wonderful woman in the world, Tamar. I have one incredible son, Reuven, and four delightful daughters, Kayla, Bat-Chen, Shalva, and Tziona. I was born and raised in Miami, Florida (Go Canes!), but I now live in a beautiful desert city just east of Jerusalem called Ma’ale Adumim. (UPDATE: As of June 5th, 2012 we added another boy! His name is Tzvi Arye, but we call him “Chachi!” Yes, as in Joanie loves Chachi!)
Now that we’ve had a chance to get acquainted, let’s move on to my professional history. I studied my freshman year of college at Washington University in St. Louis. After that first year, I transferred to the Wharton School, the business school at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where I received my BA in Operations and Information Management.
In 2001, when Tamar and I emigrated to Israel in the aftermath of the dot-com bubble bursting, there were very few quality jobs available. This is how I ended up in the diamond industry. One thing led to another, I met the right people, and one fateful day in April, 2002, I was offered a job to become a salesman at Leo Schachter Diamonds.
A “salesman” at Leo Schachter, though, is much more than just a guy who travels with diamonds and sells them. We were trained from the ground up to be experts in a particular corner of the business (i.e., small round diamonds, princess cuts, fancy shapes, certified large, uncertified large, etc).
Once trained, we became responsible for every aspect of the marketing of all of the diamonds that fell under our division. I spent most of my time with the company specializing in small round diamonds (3/4 carat and below). At different times, I also specialized in large round diamonds, and small loose diamonds, and certified diamonds. Likewise, at different times I was the co-manager of Leo Schachter’s Dubai office, and also a division manager in their New York office on 47th Street.
Training at Leo Schachter was rigorous. It generally lasted about a year. In the beginning, we sat in the factory and learned the basics of diamond cutting. Elliot Tannenbaum, the CEO, always believed that every salesman needs to be able to identify if a stone can be improved or not by recutting it (either by improving the clarity by cutting away an inclusion, or by improving the cut). Learning the basics of cutting gave us that knowledge. We could tell more or less how much a diamond would lose in weight by recutting a diamond in different ways.
After that, we generally sat in the sorting room for many months. This time was critical. You see, anybody can learn what “reads nice” on diamond certificates, but only a trained expert can take a pile of diamonds and sort them from least valuable to most valuable in the shortest amount of time possible.
This is much more than mere gemology. Gemology is just about identifying the parameters of the diamond (color, clarity, dimensions, etc). Sorting at Leo Schachter was about relative value. You could have two different diamonds that would both receive I1 grades from GIA that are vastly different in value. To the GG (Graduate GIA Gemologist), they’re the same diamond. But to a trained expert, they are two completely different categories of assets.
I left the diamond business in the fall (and it happened to be Fall) of 2008. I had the idea to create this site since I had all this knowledge that was otherwise not being used. It always bothered me that I was a part of this business that teaches people to spend well beyond their means to buy what amounts to a useless little polished rock. We all know that most people buying diamonds today don’t really have a choice in the matter — would you want to disappoint your bride-to-be? So I thought I could at least help out by teaching diamond shoppers to buy a diamond like an expert diamond dealer would. We, in the business, know that you don’t buy a diamond as an investment — it’s a retail product just like any other. So why pay more for features that you won’t be able to appreciate with your naked eye?
That’s the Truth About Diamonds.